The spirits business has roared back to life in 2022 following the pandemic and cessation of all associated rules and lockdowns. Whisky sales have been particularly strong with many brands reporting significant growth and finally releasing special editions that were destined for 2020 or 2021.
Scotch has had a powerful year, but other notable releases from elsewhere in the world have also appeared. Here we look at 10 of the very best new whiskies of 2022.
Hypernova marketed itself as the smokiest Ardbeg ever. Whenever such proclamations are heard, it’s always interesting to see if the whisky lives up to the hype.
Hypernova does not disappoint and seemingly takes the robust Ardbeg spirit from the famous Scottish whisky island of Islay to a new level. It is big, bold and super peaty with plenty of pungent earthy and coastal aromas and flavours.
Notes of bonfire embers, damp moss and drying seaweed mingle with robust cereals, scorched green apple, white chocolate and a hint of salinity. Not for the fainthearted.
Bimber Camden Town
The west London distillery of Bimber has had a strong 2022. It has well and truly cemented its place as one of the most desirable and collectable craft whisky brands in the world.
Camden Town formed part of its limited-edition London Underground Series – a range of whiskies bottled in collaboration with Transport for London. All sold out in record time and featured a finishing period in lesser-known ex-sherry casks.
Camden Town featured ex-Amontillado casks and offers Bimber’s bold and fruity style alongside dried fruits, nuts and robust oak spice. One to watch.
Benromach 40 Years Old
While most whiskies on the list sit within a certain budget, the Benromach 40 years old is in a different league price wise. £1,000 a bottle to be exact. However, it is much older and rarer than everything else here.
This is only the second time that the small, traditional family-owned Speyside distillery has ever released a 40-year-old expression, and it is exquisite.
Rich and multi-layered notes of dark caramel, orange marmalade and heavy baking spices are accentuated by hints of hazelnut praline, clove and black cherry. All sit alongside a delicate whiff of peat smoke. A subliminal whisky.
Bushmills 1997 Rum Cask
This fine single malt whiskey was the latest addition to the Bushmills Causeway Collection, named after The Giant’s Causeway. The famous world heritage site is just a couple of miles from the distillery, which sits on the Co. Antrim coast in Northern Ireland.
Ex-rum casks are regularly used to finish Scotch whisky for short periods. However, this triple distilled spirit has seen its full 25 years in high-quality rum casks sourced from the Caribbean.
Delicious tropical notes of pineapple, mango, cane sugar and peach are added to the classic Bushmills light, grainy and grassy style.
Craigellachie 13 Years Old Armagnac Cask Finish
The use of ex-Cognac and ex-Armagnac barrels in Scotch whisky maturation has become increasingly popular over the last couple of years. Few have been as good as this Craigellachie, which kicked off the Speyside distillery’s Cask Collection series.
Initial maturation in ex-bourbon casks has been enhanced by a finishing period in French oak Bas-Armagnac brandy casks from the Gascony region of France.
Juicy fruits and baking spices bombard the tastebuds and highlight Craigellachie’s signature oily spirit. Apricot, pear, vanilla, sultanas and ginger are also present.
Dalmore 15 Years Old 2007 Vintage
The north Highland distillery of Dalmore is one of the most prestigious in Scotland. Sitting on the shores of the Cromarty Firth, the UK’s deepest sea loch, it is known for its rich and decadent single malts.
The 2007 Vintage is bottled at 15 years of age with just 12 casks used. After initial maturation in ex-bourbon barrels, the whisky was transferred to a combination of four cask types – ex-Matusalem, ex-Apostoles and ex-Amoroso sherry, plus ex-Madeira sweet wine.
Floral and warming with notes of sultana, brown sugar, heather honey and a pinch of Christmas spice.
Glendronach Cask Strength Batch 11
The annual cask strength bottling from the Aberdeenshire distillery of Glendronach has been disrupted by the Covid pandemic. Batch 10 was released earlier in 2022, but Batch 11 appeared recently to bring the series back into sync.
Glendronach is known for its use of high-quality ex-sherry casks and this bottling is no different. Whiskies of differing ages have been aged in ex-Oloroso or ex-Pedro Ximenez sherry casks, before being married together.
Rich and fruity notes of raisin, sultana, prune and candied orange mingle with caramel, toasted nuts and chocolate. Superb.
Glenfiddich Orchard Experiment
Another pioneering whisky from those original single malt pioneers at Glenfiddich. The famous Speyside distillery is widely regarded as the ones to kick off the single malt category in the 1960s.
The Orchard Experiment is the fifth bottling in the popular whisky brand’s innovative Experimental Series and has seen Glenfiddich’s sweet, soft and fruity spirit matured for a period in Somerset Pomona apple brandy casks. It is a delicious marriage between Scotland and Somerset.
Baked apple and toffee apple notes come through delightfully, along with hints of honey and cinnamon. A bright, sunny and tasty whisky.
Gold Spot 9 Years Old
The Irish whiskey category is booming and was joined by this fabulous addition to The Spot Family from Irish Distillers. The Gold Spot was launched to commemorate the 135th anniversary of brand partners Mitchell & Sons, the famous Dublin-based wine merchants, entering the whiskey bonding business in 1887.
It features an intriguing marriage of cask types – ex-bourbon and ex-sherry casks plus ex-Bordeaux red wine barrels and ex-Port pipes.
Expect a delicious mix of tropical fruit, apricot jam, golden syrup and vanilla sugar with hints of cinnamon, red apple and gingerbread.
Whistlepig Piggyback 6 Years Old
This new whiskey from premium American brand appeared in the middle of the year and has taken the bartending world by storm. Piggyback represents the youngest bottling of Whistlepig, which is known for its high-end and expensive rye whiskies.
The Vermont-based distillery has won many awards worldwide but wanted to give consumers a more economical option. Piggyback was the result but with none of the brand’s quality being compromised.
Notes of vanilla, maple syrup and coconut mingle with dark cherry, peppery spices and a hint of cola bottle sweets. Great in a cocktail or on the rocks.